Summertime can be a wonderful opportunity to slow down, enjoy friends and family gatherings, and revel in summer festivities. But for our pets, summer may be an anxiety inducing time. Fireworks, parties, and thunderstorms can all leave your pet shaking with fear. What’s worse, pet anxiety can drive your otherwise calm pet to destructive behaviors such as vocalizing, chewing, digging, or even trying frantically to escape.
Of course, it’s not possible to remove pets from every stressful situation, but with a little preparation you can minimize pet anxiety. Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital provides a few tips and tricks for helping your pet keep calm and carry on.
Things That Go Boom! Fireworks and Thunderstorms
We may not get too many thunderstorms here in California, but when they do occur, they can be terrifying for pets. Similarly, the fireworks displays we love can cause pets to hide under the furniture, shake, or claw at the door or windows in a desperate attempt to escape the noise.
Try the following tips to help minimize pet anxiety when these events occur.
- Give your pet her own quiet space. A laundry room, spare bedroom, or even the bathroom could work in a pinch. Make sure she has access to her food, toys, water, and a soft place to rest.
- Provide some kind of white noise to mask loud sounds. A story app, music, or white noise machine can all do the trick.
- Some pets do well with a pressure based anxiety reducing shirt, or Thundershirt.
- Stay with your pet during the event. Your calm and loving presence will likely do the most to help her through.
- Distract her with her favorite games and treats.
- In the event that the noises are just too stressful for her, talk to us about anxiety medication. A prescription can really help in these infrequent situations.
For some pets, a large gathering at your house or far afield would be welcome entertainment. These social butterflies are actually few and far between, though. Most pets are stressed or feel at least some anxiety with any change in their routine, and a houseful of strangers (or even friends) qualifies.
Try these techniques next time your have a summertime gathering.
- Before any party or social outing, give your pet some vigorous exercise. Allowing her to release her pent up energy will make for a calmer and less anxious pet.
- If she wants to greet your guests, let her do so at the door while on leash. The frequent comings and goings at parties are a great opportunity for a pet to scoot out the door and become lost.
- Make sure your pet has her safe space set up and that she has a way to retreat when she needs to. A crate, bedroom, or laundry room is a perfect cozy and quiet spot.
- During the party, make sure she has access to her bed, toys, food and water. If she’s in her safe space, check on her often so that she doesn’t feel overly anxious. And praise her often for staying calm.
There are many ways that pet anxiety can manifest. If your pet has separation anxiety and or is destructive, please talk to us about treatment options. Separation anxiety rarely resolves on its own, and in fact usually becomes worse over time.
Behavior modification training can go a long way toward helping with pet anxiety. We can evaluate your pet at her next wellness exam. We work closely with many professional trainers and behavior specialists, so we can determine together if your pet might benefit from a referral.
Our main priority is to keep your pet safe, healthy, and happy. Since pet anxiety is a main reason pets try (and sometimes succeed) to escape, we always recommend a microchip. If your pet becomes lost for any reason, a microchip is her best chance of finding her way home to you.